An exquisite, blistering debut novel
Three brothers tear their way through childhood--smashing tomatoes all over each other, building kites from trash, hiding out when their parents do battle, tiptoeing around the house as their mother sleeps off her graveyard shift. Paps and Ma are from Brooklyn--he's Puerto Rican, she's white--and their love is a serious, dangerous thing that makes and unmakes a family many times.
Life in this family is fierce and absorbing, full of chaos and heartbreak and the euphoria of belonging completely to one another. From the intense familial unity felt by a child to the profound alienation he endures as he begins to see the world, this beautiful novel reinvents the coming-of-age story in a way that is sly and punch-in-the-stomach powerful.
Written in magical language with unforgettable images, this is a stunning exploration of the viscerally charged landscape of growing up, how deeply we are formed by our earliest bonds, and how we are ultimately propelled at escape velocity toward our futures.
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About the Author
Justin Torres grew up in upstate New York. His work has appeared in Granta, Tin House, and Glimmer Train. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he is a recipient of the United States Artist Fellowship in Literature and is now a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. He has worked as a farmhand, a dog-walker, a creative-writing teacher, and a bookseller.
Frankie J. Alvarez is a film and television actor best known for his roles as a gangster or thug. He has appeared on such television shows as 24, CSI: Miami, and Entourage, among others.
Frankie Alvarez fits himself invisibly inside this mess of a household so that you feel the confusion, appetites, passions, and disasters of these five people as they crash together and rip apart. At first the young narrator has the point of view of a small child. He experiences himself as part of a mass of brothers, a 'we.' Adolescent by the end, he knows that he is separate and learns the devastating difference this makes. Alvarez unobtrusively and artfully serves a stunning text.-- "AudioFile"
A novel so honest, poetic, and tough that it makes you reexamine what it means to love and to hurt...as well as what it means to become a man.-- "O, the Oprah Magazine"
A gorgeous, howling, coming-of-age novel that will devour your heart.-- "Vanity Fair"
Relates such an affecting story of love, loss, and the irreversible trauma that a single event can bring to a family.-- "New York Times Book Review"
The best book you'll read this fall...rumbles with lyric dynamite. It's a knock to the head that will leave your mouth agape. Torres is a savage new talent.-- "Esquire"
A dark jewel of a book. It's heartbreaking. It's beautiful. It resembles no other book I've read.-- "Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author"
About a different sort of family and a narrator's discovery of how he is both a part of them and apart from them...Exhilarating...Upon finishing, readers might be tempted to start again, not wanting to let it go.-- "Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"
Intriguing and beautifully written.-- "Publishers Weekly"
Highly recommended.-- "Library Journal"
"We the Animals snatches the reader by the scruff of the heart, tight as teeth, and shakes back and forth--between the human and the animal, the housed and the feral, love and violence, mercy and wrath--and leaves him in the wilderness, ravished by its beauty. It is an indelible and essential work of art."-- "Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize-winning author"
"In language brilliant, poised, and pure, We the Animals tells about family love as it is felt when it is frustrated or betrayed or made to stand in the place of too many other needed things, about how precious it becomes in these extremes, about the terrible sense of loss when it fails under duress, and the joy and dread of realizing that there really is no end to it."-- "Marilynne Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author"
"Some books quicken your pulse. Some slow it. Some burn you inside and send you tearing off to find the author to see who made this thing that can so burn you and quicken you and slow you all at the same time. A miracle in concentrated pages, you are going to read it again and again, and know exactly what I mean."-- "Dorothy Allison, New York Times bestselling author"
"We the Animals is a gorgeous, deeply humane book. Every page sings, and every scene startles. I think we'll all be reading Justin Torres for years to come."-- "Daniel Alarcon, author of Lost City Radio and War by Candlelight"
"We the Animals marks the debut of an astonishing new voice in American literature. In an intense coming-of-age story that brings to mind the early work of Jeffrey Eugenides and Sandra Cisneros, Torres' concentrated prose goes down hot like strong liquor. His beautifully flawed characters worked their way into my heart on the very first page and have been there ever since."-- "Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow"